Portion Control

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? All a person has to do to watch their weight or perhaps lose weight, is to make sure to eat proper portions. But what is a portion? Sometimes it is hard to tell and the perception of a “normal” serving size can be very misleading.

In order to correct “portion distortion” and to start eating appropriate portions, follow these tips.

  • Eat from a lunch-size plate instead of a dinner plate so it looks like you have more on your plate.
  • Eat from a plate not a package, so you know how much you actually ate.
  • When eating out, split a large portion with a friend or ask the waiter to pack up 1/2 the portion to bring home.
  • Drink water with your meal. Add a splash of orange or lime juice to seltzer.
  • Portion out food beforehand. Freeze individual portions for later.
  • Purchase snacks in single serving sizes.
  • Just because it is on your plate, doesn’t mean you have to finish.
  • When cooking/eating at home, try portioning out your meal using measuring cups and spoons.
  • Eat slowly. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full.

Not sure what a serving size looks like? Here are some visual cues:

  • pasta or rice = 1 cup cooked = small fist
  • meat or poultry = 3 ounces = 1 deck of playing cards
  • peanut butter = 2 tablespoons = 1/2 golf ball
  • pie = 1/8 of pie = 1 computer mouse
  • apple = 1 medium = a baseball
  • margarine/butter = 1 teaspoon = one dice

If the portion size is bigger than one serving, it counts as more than one serving! To learn more about recommended serving sizes, check out www.mypyramid.gov.